Thursday, 5 December 2019

Ceisteanna (63)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

63. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the status of the escrow account holding the funds received from a company (details supplied); the amount initially invested into the account; the net asset value of the account; the potential loss that will be incurred by the company if the funds are returned to the company; the potential loss that will be incurred by Ireland if the funds are handed over to Ireland; the cost of legal expenses incurred by the State in setting up the escrow account; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51018/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

The total amount recovered from Apple in respect of alleged state aid and placed in an Escrow Fund was €14,285 billion which is the principal and relevant EU interest.

Annual accounts for the Escrow Fund are compiled and audited by the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General. The latest publicly available set of accounts are for 2018 and show that as at 31 December 2018, the financial assets held in the Escrow fund amounted to €14.271 billion. The decrease in the value of the Fund was the result of changes in the value of financial assets, combined with interest expenses, resulting in an overall decrease of €14 million in the value of the Fund. A further €2 million operating expenses has been accrued at the year end.

The full report is available in the following link: https://www.audit.gov.ie/en/Find-Report/Publications/2019/2018-Annual-Report-Chapter-20-Ireland-Apple-Escrow-Fund.pdf

The arrangements in the Escrow Framework Deed include the agreement that all claims of ownership and access to this money is suspended until the European Courts have concluded proceedings that the Government and Apple have brought. In general terms, all income and expenses, including any gains or losses, will accrue to the Escrow Fund. Depending on the final outcome of the European Court proceedings it is likely that the balance of the Fund at that time will be made available to the successful party i.e. if Ireland and Apple are unsuccessful in their case to Ireland, and if Ireland and Apple are successful in their case to Apple.

It is not possible at this stage to determine any potential losses or gains that may accrue to the Escrow Fund when the European Courts have made a final determination over the validity of the Commission's decision. The performance of the escrow fund is determined by the prevailing interest rate environment and the asset credit quality over the duration of the escrow fund. For illustrative purposes, the NTMA estimates that in the current negative interest rate environment, the escrow fund could decline by 0.5% per annum. On a €14 billion fund, this would amount to a loss of c. €70 million per annum.

Over the past seven years approximately €7.5 million (including VAT) has been paid for external services relating to the case, of which approximately €3.9 million relates to the recovery process. This includes all legal costs, consultancy fees and other associated costs. These fees have been paid by the Department of Finance; the Revenue Commissioners; the NTMA; the Central Bank of Ireland; the Attorney General’s Office; and, the Chief State Solicitor’s Office.

The accounts of the Fund will be produced on an annual basis and information on the value of the Fund will not be provided outside this process.